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Environment & Climate Change

State Senate urges Congress to remove gray wolves from endangered list

Tracy Brooks/Mission Wolf/USFWS
Michigan's gray wolf population is estimated to be 687 animals. The recovery goal for the population is between 250-300 wolves.

The state Senate is urging Congress to end endangered species protections for gray wolves in Michigan. It passed the resolution Tuesday on a mostly party-line vote.

Michigan has been debating for years whether to allow a wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula. That question was recently put to rest when a federal judge ordered Michigan wolves back on the endangered species list.   

State Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, acknowledged that passing a Senate resolution may not have much of an impact. But he says the conversation is too important to end there.

“We are concerned for our children’s safety in our backyards,” said Casperson, who sponsored the resolution.

“When good people stop speaking out in opposing what’s going on here, we lose. And we don’t lose because we’re talking the truth or because we’re right on the issue, we lose because we let them continue to speak and be a megaphone. And then when people don’t understand the issue, we get voted against.”

Opponents of a wolf hunt say Upper Peninsula lawmakers are exaggerating the dangers wolves may pose to livestock and people.

“We can’t find a single documented attack of a gray wolf on a person in Michigan ever,” said state Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor.

In 2013, Casperson apologized on the floor of the state Senate for including an inaccurate account of a wolf sighting outside a daycare facility in a similar resolution to Congress that the Senate approved in 2011. Casperson’s apology came about a month before Michigan’s first-ever managed wolf hunt in December 2013.

NOTE:Here are links the resolution and the federal judge’s order –

http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?2015-SR-0007 (Casperson’s resolution)

http://www.scribd.com/doc/250590086/Court-Ruling-on-Gray-Wolves (Judge’s order via LSJ)